$14 Marcillac Rouge…Anne of Green Gables…Metallica & Cassoulet
“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”
– L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
You probably didn’t think I was going to quote Anne of Green Gables to lead into one of my bi-monthly wine newsletters, but I do love this time of year. Thankfully, my nostalgia for October has nothing to do with pumpkin spice, but I’m sure Anne Shirley would have been an ardent fan if only Starbucks and Yankee Candles existed in her day.
For me, October is the coziest month, a time to celebrate the bounty of the harvest and the last morsels of light before winter. It’s early October in the Mid-Atlantic when the aspect of light begins to change; Just about the time touchdowns begin to outpace home runs. The Sun, which just weeks before had been an unrelenting demon sitting on his high summer perch, now seems to childishly peak out from behind the trees, warming instead of scorching, comforting without suffocating. A chill begins to bookend each day, and the Fall Field Crickets resume their Spring serenade, providing a soundtrack to my once quite porch cocktail hour…or hours.
Few things are as sublime as a late October afternoon. Without getting too verbose, this time of year offers perfect eating and drinking weather. It’s a time to indulge in the heartiness of the land and wash it down with something, fresh, full, and redolent of autumn air, falling leaves and the essence of fractured sun light.
For these occasions, to paraphrase Metallica, “Give me fuel, give me fire give me Cassoulet which I desire!” But who am I kidding? I have two young Children. It’s hard enough to get them to eat toast let alone duck confit. So last Sunday afternoon Joanne made beef chili instead, which I thought was an amicable compromise. As predicted, Griffin and Vivienne ate very little, and I was left to consume the rest. I accomplished this heroic gastronomic feat with the help of Domaine Laurens, Marcillac Rouge, Cuvee Pierres Rouges,2016.
Domaine Laurens is a 21-hectare family run farm located in the wine growing region of Marcillac, primely positioned within the Massif Central mountain range. The property was founded in 1975 by Gilbert Laurens. Currently, Gilbert’s two sons run the property, and focus on growing Fer Servadou grapes also known as Mansois in other growing regions around the South West France.
There is a high content of iron oxide in the vineyard soil of Marcillac, allowing Fer Sevadau grown in this region to exude a lovely iodine like acidity that gives the wines a Umami like quality that adds a perfect lift for rich protein and bean laden stews as well as roast vegetable dishes. Jancis Robinson has noted that the wines from this region are “interestingly perfumed,” and I would argue, make for wines that certainly demonstrate a sense of place.
In the glass, the 2016 Domain Laurens, Marcillac Rouge, Cuvee Pierres Rouge, exudes loads of red current, “dark squishy plum,” rhubarb compote and inflections of raspberry notes and beef bouillon. The wine unravels different layers of earth, spice and funk as it’s left open. There is a defined greenness intermixed with the fruit that reminds me of Chinon. At 12.5% alcohol the wine is totally “crushable,” and its smart interplay between tannin and acidity allows it to cleans the palate while tackling savory seasonal stews.
When Death finally finds me, I hope he finds me half asleep under the warm light of a Sunday October dusk; In front of an Eagle’s game, satiated with Fer Servadou and cassoulet, as ambient chatter of familiar family voices in the kitchen whisk me away.
I too am glad I’ve lived in a world where there are Octobers.